Detalle Publicación


Portrayal of scientific controversy on climate change : a study of the coverage of the Copenhagen summit in the Spanish press

Título de la revista: OBSERVATORIO
ISSN: 1646-5954
Volumen: 5
Número: 3
Páginas: 45 - 63
Fecha de publicación: 2011
Controversy has been a relevant element in the coverage of climate change. Several studies emphasize the influence of economic, political, and journalistic factors in the portrayal of controversies on this topic, along the last few decades. Very often this was related to the lobbying action of several political and economic interest groups and resulted in the portrayal of a distorted image of the scientific knowledge on this topic. This paper presents some results of a research project on information about climate change in the Spanish media (*). It analyzes the role of controversy in the current situation of strong scientific consensus on the existence and origin of climate change, through some content analysis of the coverage of the Copenhagen summit on climate change, in December 2009, in the two leading Spanish newspapers (El País and El Mundo). Results indicate that controversy still plays a relevant role in the coverage of this topic, and it is related to the editorial line of each newspaper. When controversy receives ample attention, it is portrayed mainly by means of opinion articles and it is linked to a restrictive presence of the scientific point of view. Balance is used as a legitimization tool, when it is useful to support the editorial line.